Deborah Finke, professor and director of undergraduate studies, Division of Plant Science and Technology, was honored with the Outstanding Senior Teacher Award as part of the 2023 Celebration of Excellence event, held Tuesday, April 11.
Finke is dedicated to inquiry-based student learning and teaches courses including Insect Pest Management, Plant Stress Biology and Insect Ecology, with teaching evaluations consistently higher than average. She leads a study abroad opportunity to Italy, is the advisor for the C.V. Riley Entomological Society student organization, and works with faculty on the development of courses and curriculum as the undergraduate program director.
“It is a difficult task nowadays to get students excited about bugs, but Dr. Finke is able to infect students with her enthusiasm about insects,” said nominator Heike Buecking, director of the Division of Plant Science and Technology. “Students commented they ‘only wish we had more time in this course’ or that she made students ‘want to research anything and everything about insect ecology.’
“In addition, equity and inclusivity in teaching and mentoring is more than just a buzzword for her, she lives it and sees it as an opportunity for us to grow.”
“Dr. Finke has a fantastic track record of graduate and undergraduate mentees finding their desired careers either as PIs of R1 labs, conducting industry research, facilitating research at universities, or in competitive graduate programs,” said previous student Jessica Kansman, postdoctoral fellow, Penn State University. “She is endlessly reliable and dedicated to student learning and wellbeing.”